Presidential Bomb Threats at the UN

Donald Trump denounced North Korea and its president Kim Jong-un as “depraved” before the United Nations Sept. 19, saying the nation “threatens the entire world with unthinkable loss of life.” Of course North Korea can barely feed itself, and yet has to defend itself against an onslaught of Western hostility, UN sanctions, and ongoing US/South Korean war games which are rehearsals for an invasion of the North. It tests rockets and bombs to be sure, just as the US and its allies and adversaries do all year round. It’s big business.

Trump’s claim that North Korea is threatening is preposterous since it has no deliverable nuclear weapons at all. Secretary of Defense James Mattis said last week that North Korea is no danger to the United States. In June 2016, the Institute for Science and International Security reported that Pyongyang may have between 13 and 21 warheads. The CIA, whose job it is find hostile weapons (even where they don’t exist) says Pyongyang has at most about 21. US intelligence agencies’ combined estimates are that while it may have miniaturized a nuclear warhead, North Korea has no missile that can drop them on the United States. The Federation of American Scientists is more skeptical and estimates it has “potentially produce[d] 10-20 nuclear warheads.”

Like an 8th grade imbecile contradicting himself repeatedly, Trump claimed that North Korean President Kim Jong-un “is on a suicide mission.” In April 2016 Trump had called him a “smart cookie.” Kim appears quite the opposite of suicidal since Pyongyang’s missile and nuclear programs are aimed at preventing a repeat of the Korean War in which, according to US Air Force General Curtis LeMay, “we burned down every town in North Korea.”

Trump asserted that, “[I]f the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.” Here is Trump in a nutshell: Condemning threats of “unthinkable loss of life” in one sentence, then making precisely the same threat in the next. Perhaps Trump knows nothing about the Korean War, but the idea that the United States might “have no choice” but to totally destroy an entire country is not just a deliberate lie and an outrage, it is intended to prepare the population to get comfortable with bloodlust and atrocities, and intended to teach children to embrace them as well.

Governments always have a choice about whether to begin bombing, and since North Korea has done absolutely nothing against the United States or its allies, Trump’s hate-filled spittle about total war is all the more monstrous. Delivered before the world’s largest peace group, Trump’s ghastly threat was a barbaric embrace of genocidal violence.

Trump must have for a moment believed that to “totally destroy North Korea” is a “thinkable loss of life,” as opposed to the “unthinkable” sort that he condemned. But if he did, a big “if,” since Trump seems not to think that words have meaning, — then it is…

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